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Ormond Beach Observer Wednesday, Sep. 5, 2012 6 years ago

City millage up, budget down

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Despite an increase in the millage rate for the 2012-13 fiscal year, the city will raise the same revenue from property taxes as the 2011-12 fiscal year.

BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER

The Ormond Beach City Commission adopted the proposed millage rates for the 2012-13 fiscal year budget as well as the budget itself on Tuesday.

The operating millage was set at the rolled-back rate of 4.0132 mills, or $4.0132 per $1,000 of taxable property value, which was up from the millage rate of 3.8933 from last year. The total budget appropriation for the 2012-13 fiscal year was set at $72,787,547, which is down from last year’s $79,556,542. Both resolutions will be voted on and could be passed during the Sept. 18 meeting.

The rolled-back indicates that, despite an increase in the millage rate, the city will see the same amount of revenue generated from property taxes in the 2012-13 fiscal year as it did in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

Ed Connor, a member of Volusia Tax Reform, addressed the City Commission during the public hearing portion of the meeting and warned it about raising taxes.

“I realize you’re only one of 40 taxing agencies,” he said. “But before you vote for any tax increase in the city, bear in mind what’s happening to this county.”

Connor, like others who addressed the commission, viewed the increased millage rate as a tax increase.

“This is the ‘rolled-back’ rate,” Mayor Ed Kelley said. “This will produce the exact same revenue that we had last year. And your services are not being cut.”

A rate increase doesn’t automatically result in a homeowner paying more property taxes or the city receiving more revenue from those taxes. The millage rate is just one variable that determines an individual's tax bill. In fact, homeowners who qualified for a new exemption or received a lower appraisal this year could pay less in taxes.

The calculation is complicated further by the 1995 Save Our Homes Amendment, which limits increases in taxes to 3% per year. Several years ago, when home values were climbing rapidly, some residents paid less in taxes than their appraisals called for, and they're still climbing by 3% to catch up.

Officials reiterated that, because the city is using the “rolled-back” rate, the city as a whole will not generate more revenue than last year and therefore, the city is living within its means. Kelley complimented the Budget Advisory Board, led by City Manager Joyce Shanahan, on recommending a budget to the commission without an increase in taxes. He cited smaller operating budgets and reduced number of employees as examples of the city’s responsible budget proposals.

The resolution to approve the millage rate was called to a vote, and all four commissioners and Kelley voted yes. It will appear on the Sept. 18 commission meeting for the second reading when it can be passed.

The ordinance to adopt the annual budget was called to a vote without a discussion and passed with five votes. The discussion of the budget ordinance was including in the public hearings concerning the millage rate.

“I will put our city budget up compared to any of the other 15 cities in Volusia County,” Commissioner Troy Kent said after the ordinance passed. “You get the best bang for your buck in Ormond Beach.”

Kent added that the average homeowner pays a little over a $1 per day in property taxes.

BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

Description FY 2011-12 FY 2012-13 Change
General Fund $27,644,716 $28,757,209 $1,112,493
Downtown Redevelopment Trust Fund $1,213,246 $2,697,077 $1,483,831
Stormwater Utility Fund $7,252,552 $2,575,000 -$4,677,552
Airport Fund $2,221,233 $258,720 -$1,962,513
Capital Improvements Fund $403,088 $2,228,716 $1,825,628
Transportation Improvements Fund $6,511,501 $2,445,506 -$4,065,995
Water and Wastewater Fund $16,606,823 $16,991,873 $385,050
Renewal and Replacement Fund $2,013,661 $1,352,081 -$661,580
Water/Wastewater Consolidate Debt Service $3,991,332 $4,278,685 $287,353
Solid Waste Fund $6,626,855 $6,217,805 -$409,050
Total Budget Appropriation $79,556,542 $72,787,547 -$6,768,995
Total Net Budget $64,979,553 $57,710,634 -$7,268,919

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